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Digital & Innovation

Trends shaping pharma’s digital transformation and omnichannel excellence

Health Industry Hub | September 13, 2021 |
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Digital & Innovation: A recent survey revealed the pulse of pharma’s efforts and ambitions in the digital and omnichannel space.

The pharma industry is reimagining customer engagement for the post-COVID world with the customer in mind. Almost 60% of those interviewed by Across Health in May 2021 agreed that omnichannel offers a competitive advantage and hence will have a positive impact on company performance.

As a result, more of the marketing budget is being funnelled into digital channels and 78% of pharma companies intend to increase this budget allocation by at least 10% in 2022. Within 2 years, digital budgets increased by 42% contributing to 27% of the overall marketing budget.

Despite these increased budgets, satisfaction levels from companies on their digital and multichannel activities remains low at just 11%. (Figure 1) Interestingly, however, the number of ‘neutrals’ increased to 77% perhaps indicating the ‘hopefuls’, who believe their new and innovative digital efforts may pay off in the future.

Figure 1Across Health

Increased budgets need to be applied and invested strategically. Companies and their relevant staff need to be well trained, know the omnichannel affinities of their customers, have a robust process and the resource allocation to optimise the mix, have an actionable view of how their campaigns are evolving at the customer level, and be able to track and fine-tune impact with the necessary agility.

What could be the root cause of this decline in satisfaction? The survey examined the capabilities and its relative change since the 2018 data. (Figure 2)

Many of the success criteria and capabilities have declined since 2018. Perhaps, within the rapid changes and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prior strategy and vision may not have been adequate to thrive in the new ecosystem.

The pain zones are also reflected in the top 3 bottlenecks – insufficient internal knowledge, compliance issues and an unclear digital strategy across the organisation.

Figure 2 – Across Health

With regards to the future channel priorities, respondents state they expect strong growth for virtual scientific meetings, webcasts, remote video detailing, rep-triggered email, and e-medical education, with AI and marketing automation following closely.

The survey showed that most of the increased omnichannel budgets will continue to be invested in HCPs, but payers and patients are seen to be allocated an increased portion of these budgets within the next 2 years.

Respondents to the Across Health Maturometer are turning more of their attention to omnichannel which is the common parameter in their top 3 priorities; developing a well-defined customer journey across multiple touchpoints, transforming the field force and experimenting with the mix.


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